A construction company is probably the last business you think of if someone asks you to name a technology leading business. Yet, Taggart Construction Limited is a technological leader, one that has been making big investments in new equipment and processes that - as they’re very happy to admit - have been paying off.
As proudly displayed on their (honestly, very nicely designed) website, “Taggart Construction is one of the earliest adopters in the new era of machine control and guidance – high tech with remarkable results.”
They didn’t used to be this tech-forward
Everything used to be analogue. Records were kept with pen and paper.
“Even something as simple as time sheets had the foreman filling out details on a piece of paper, hopping in a truck, and driving to head office — hand-delivering it to payroll to ensure employees would get paid," said Ivo Mokros, Taggart’s CIO, who participated in a study of medium-sized businesses with IDC, in partnership with TELUS.
So how did a company that was so used to going out in the field and getting things done make the pivot into a data-driven leader that embraces technological solutions?
Analogue wasn’t cutting it anymore
“Getting information to and from our staff was a challenge,” said Mokros, adding that production numbers were updated on a weekly basis “at best.”
“Everything was known after-the-fact. Accounting could only tell us if we made or lost money after the job was completed. That's the kind of information that we need to gather in the field and get out to everybody else. Mobility is a huge piece of solving that,” Mokros continued.
The first big step for Taggart was going mobile. How do you go from a 100% paper-based company to a technology-based firm? Deploy smartphones to staff and place tablets in the field. It was the ability to have seamless communication with front-line employees and management that made an immediate impact to productivity.
“As mobile devices get into everyone's hands, we hear, 'Oh, wouldn't it be cool if we could do this?’ to which management reviews and, if beneficial, IT implements,” said Mokros. “We are now getting real-time updates on every project. Head office sees photos of safety issues or equipment that has broken down — which is then forwarded to our mechanics, who now have lead time on ordering parts to fix the issue before the equipment arrives for repair. All that communication is happening, and that's made a huge difference.”
Now that Taggart has successfully integrated mobile technology across the board, the next step is to find processes to automate, admits Mokros.
“Requests to automate our processes are coming in fast now, from integrating localized weather forecasts into work schedules, to geo-tracking assets against production metrics,” he said. “We're definitely on a growth path, and technology is driving our revenues and our cost cutting. It is going to transform the company and everybody from the CEO down knows that this is transformative."
As the workplace continues to evolve, transform, and grow, investments in technology is necessary for sustained growth. That’s according the IDC, who concluded in their study of 1,000 medium-sized Canadian businesses that, “When asked about the results of investments in technologies and processes to improve how employees work, medium-sized Canadian businesses reported an 18 –31% surge in results. Customer satisfaction scores saw the highest gain, followed by the development of new products and services, faster time to market, and increased employee productivity.”
Frankly, when looking at the facts, it’s actually kind of shocking how many businesses are not choosing to make these crucial technological investments.
So what lesson does the Taggart Group case teach us?
Any business can find ways to use technology to increase productivity and improve workflows, especially the ones who are still ink and paper based. The benefits of embracing technology are shared across management, employees, and clients. As Taggart shows us, it doesn’t matter if you start from scratch, when management chooses to lead with technology, they’re choosing success.
Learn more about how businesses are transforming at telus.com/workplaceredefined
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